Grant Shapps: PM ‘following science not knee-jerk reactions’

Monday, March 16, 2020

Grant Shapps has defended the government’s coronavirus response for being “a bit different” to that of other countries, saying it had been “entirely scientifically led”.

The Transport Secretary told talkRADIO that the government had been “completely transparent” about its approach, as it was announced that daily televised press conferences will now be taking place to update the public.

Boris Johnson will today chair another emergency Cobra meeting, which is expected to discuss escalating measures.

It is thought it will focus on plans to shield elderly and vulnerable citizens, household isolation and mass gatherings.

The Prime Minister will address the media over the pandemic alongside chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance later today.

Mr Shapps told Julia Hartley-Brewer: “We’ll be listening to and taking that scientific advice.

“Right at the beginning of this we set out an action plan with absolutely everything that we would be considering during this crisis and have been working through that action plan so we've been, objectively speaking, completely transparent.”

However, Mr Johnson has faced criticism for reacting too slowly to the outbreak -independent politician Rory Stewart has called on the government to follow other European countries and close schools.

Mr Shapps continued: “Of course some people will have other views, that is perfectly proper and right and actually quite helpful because we can look at those views and see whether we think we're getting it right.

“But following the science rather than knee-jerk reactions I think is absolutely the right way to deal with this.

“So our entire approach is to follow the scientific advice and get together in this great national effort to defeat this virus.”

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